Despite being dead for 35 years, Jim Morrison is set to make an unexpected intervention in the climate change debate. A previously unseen poem that The Doors frontman recorded before his death has been set to music by Perry Farrell, formerly of Jane’s Addiction, and will be released as a single to publicise a new campaign, Global Cool, which aims “to bring entertainment to the environment”.
Morrison’s poem reportedly imagines an angel being sent to earth to help the human race in its hour of need. “Just try to stop us, we’re going to love,” its chorus runs, which sounds very stirring but on closer inspection turns out, like so much of the Lizard King’s verse, to be complete nonsense. It is hard to imagine anyone rushing out to buy a hybrid car on the strength of it.
It’s not just the fact he’s dead that makes him a bizarre environmental campaigner. Morrison’s legendarily self-destructive lifestyle also counts against him. Why should we take advice on clean-living from such a notorious hedonist? In fact, why should we take advice from any rock star, regardless of personal habits? Their line of business is characterised by wastefulness and profligacy: they should get their own house in order before preaching to us about ours.
Consider, for instance, the gargantuan carbon footprint left by The Rolling Stones on their current world tour, A Bigger Bang, in which so far they have played 110 dates in five continents and netted a record-breaking $437m.
Unlike Kraftwerk – bicycling nuts who used to cycle to shows – the Stones fly between dates by private jet. Ninety trucks are needed to transport their stage set, which is presumably packed into one or more cargo planes for intercontinental journeys. Then there is the electricity their spectacular show requires: an average stadium uses enough kilowatts to power 1,900 households, so the mind boggles at the energy the Stones’ live extravaganza must use up.
If you factor in the air and road miles travelled by the 3.5m fans who have seen the tour, then you end up with a carbon footprint so large the Stones would have to fill every inch of their country estates with trees just to begin to atone for it. This is how the world will end, not with a whimper but A Bigger Bang.
Surely no other form of entertainment is as environmentally demanding as a touring rock band, and the bigger the band the more they have to heft about in terms of equipment and personnel. Forget trashed hotel rooms: nowadays real rock and roll destruction resides in rampant CO2 emissions.
■Mika is the year’s most hyped British newcomer. Beirut-born and London-raised, the 23-year-old’s debut album Life in Cartoon Motion is also a strong contender for the year’s most irritating release. The songs are a hyperactive mix of Queen, the Scissor Sisters and Robbie Williams, and Mika does not so much demand our attention as plead for it. “Why don’t you like me?” he emotes on the opening track, which ends with the ker-ching of a cash till. Problem solved.
Pop loves excess – another reason its stars are such unconvincing environmentalists – but Mika takes overload to a sickly, sugary extreme. Having trained at the Royal College of Music, his background is a world away from the stage school wannabes who clog up television talent shows such as Pop Idol, but he shares their naked desperation to succeed. It is, in the worst sense, an album for our times.